Indian Culture & Art in USA, a RedPatang.com Blog

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What is Diwali?

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Diwali is the Indian Festival of Lights.  Also known as Deepavali (which literally means ‘row of lamps’), Diwali is usually celebrated in October-November on the darkest moonless night.  The festival starts on the thirteenth day of waning moon and there are 5 days of Diwali.  Each day is of special significance.

The first day is called Dhanteras :  Dhan means wealth and Teras is the thirteenth day of the Hindu month.  This is the birthday of Lord Dhanwantari and is considered a very auspicious day for businesses!  On this day, people pray to Lord Dhanwantari for money and success.  Dhanteras is also called the day of Yamadeepan.

The second day of Diwali is called Naraka Chaturdashi or ‘Choti Diwali’.  According to legend, this is the day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Nakasura. The fireworks that we light during Diwali are supposed to represent the weapons that Lord Krishna used to defeat Nakasura.

The third day of Diwali is the real Diwali.  This is the only day in the year when Goddess Laxmi comes down to earth and bestows prosperity and good fortune.    We light diyas to invite Goddess Laksmi and drive away darkness.  People perform Lakshmi puja and ask for blessings of prosperity. This is also the day that Lord Ram (who is said to be the avatar of Lord Vishnu) returned home after killing the Lankan ruler Ravana.  Fireworks also represent the victory of good over evil!

Image

The fourth day of Diwali is Govardhan Puja.  Lord Krishna saved Gokul from flooding by using the Govardhan mountain as an umbrella

The last day of Diwali is bhai dooj and is a symbol of love between brothers and sisters.  Legend has it that Yamraj the lord of death visited his sister (the river Yamuna) and she put a tilak on his forehead.   So on this day, sisters apply a tilak on their brothers forehead and get gifts and blessings in return.

This year Diwali (the third and main day) falls on Sunday November 3rd.  For a full list of Indian festivals and holidays check out our blog post Indian festival list 2013

Question aides for parents:

Q1) When is Diwali?

Q2) Why do we light diyas during Diwali?

Q3) How many days of Diwali are there?

Q4) What do the fireworks represent?

Written by Redpatang

October 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

Diwali gift ideas

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Diwali is around the corner and your gifts are a click away!  Check out some fun ideas to get you inspired

Funny ‘Indian’ Mugs

These ‘Indian’ mugs come in a series of 3You know you’re Indian, Always Indian, Still Indian
You know you are Indian if’….’10 kg rice bag’….’you dont use measuring cups when cooking’…’you love bollywood’…’Maybe because everything you eat is savored in tomato, garlic and onion :)’

Always Indian coffee mug

Always Indian coffee mug

Amar Chitra Katha – The Complete Collection

Calling all Amar Chitra Katha fans!  This gift set is one to be treasured.  The entire collection in a beautifully packaged box set

Amar Chitra Katha - The complete collection

Amar Chitra Katha – The complete collection

Ravan T-Shirt

A modern rendition of an Diwali iconic symbol

Ravana T Shirt

 

Sand Art Rangoli Kit

Back in stock – this popular kit is a lovely way of holding onto the Rangoli art form even after the Diwali season! Rangoli creations can be framed

Sand Art Rangoli kit

Sand Art Rangoli kit

Take $5 off your order of $50 or more by using coupon DWL5 at checkout (valid till Oct 31st 2013).

Jhumpa Lahiri shares feelings of dislocation

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Jhumpa Lahiri shares feelings of dislocation

Jhumpa Lahiri, Photo by: Brigitte Lacombe for The Wall Street Journal

 

“Even though I have been raised and lived practically my entire life in the U.S., I didn’t really live fully within it, having been raised as I was by my parents”, said Jhumpa Lahiri in her interview with Alexandra Wolfe in the WSJ article.

Jhumpa articulates the feelings of many ‘fresh of the board’ and first generation of foreign/ Indian ancestry very well.  Desi’s battle identity crises at everyday where we desire our children to be completely assimilated in our adopted country, yet keep connections with our country of origin.

PS: In the WSJ Blog, you will also get links to excerpts from her new book, The Lowland.  http://on.wsj.com/15dI0Tc

Written by Redpatang

September 22, 2013 at 11:19 am

108 Names of Ganesha: Categorized by Theme

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Lord Ganesha's mural at Fort Meherangarh Palace, Jodhpur India (Courtesy: Dalbera via Flickr)

Lord Ganesha’s mural at Fort Meherangarh Palace, Jodhpur India (Courtesy: Dalbera via Flickr)

Ganesha… Ganapati… Siddhivinayaka… Mangalamurti… Elephant God

Did you know that Lord Ganesha is worshiped using 108 names!  We got curious and wanted to sort them by their meaning.  Some names refer to him as the God of all, powerful and warrior-like yet forgiving, with strong family connections.  Of course, there are several names that describe his appearance and other qualities.  And there are 22 names for Him as bestower or knowledge and success as well as remover of all obstacles.

Lord Ganesha’s 108 names (by theme):

Lord of all
1 Avaneesh Lord of the whole World
2 Bhupati Lord of the Gods
3 Bhuvanpati God of the Heaven
4 Devadeva Lord of All Lords
5 Sureshwaram Lord of All Lords
6 Ganadhakshya Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
7 Ganapati Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
8 Ganadhyakshina Leader of All The Celestial Bodies
9 Maheshwaram Lord of The Universe
10 Pramoda Lord of All Abodes
11 Vinayaka Lord of All
12 Vishwamukha Master of The Universe
13 Vishwaraja King of The World
Read the rest of this entry »

Ganesh Chaturthi – a few gift ideas

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Ganesha Single comic - Amar Chitra Katha

Ganesha Single comic – Amar Chitra Katha

Ganesh Chaturthi is coming up on September 9th.  Looking for a way to celebrate?

Here are some gift ideas that you can find right in the redpatang store!

Ganesha fun magnet

Ganesha fun magnet

Traditional Ganesha Magnet

Traditional Ganesha Magnet

Written by Redpatang

September 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Redpatang.com has a new look!

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Redpatang.com has a new look!

Check out our new and improved website with a cleaner and more modern design!

Written by Redpatang

August 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Swati Rastogi – custom arts and products

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This month’s artist feature is a showcase of our very own city’s local talent Swati Rastogi.

We stumbled upon Swati’s breathtaking work at the Newton India day festival with her display of eye-catching lanterns and vases.

Lantern                Tea light, candle, Om

Each piece of Swati’s art is painstakingly hand crafted and one of a kind.  Swati is highly influenced by Indian folk art (Gond, Warli, Madhubani and Patachitra).  She also finds inspiration in images of the sun, Shiva, Om and Sanskrit Slokas.

What drew us to Swati’s work was her ability to marry an ancient and traditional art style to everyday household articles and that too with a modern flair.  Swati’s style is influenced by the bold brush strokes of Jamini Roy but she doesn’t shy away from any medium whether its water /poster colors, acrylics enamels or even pencil and charcoal

Swati-charcoal                 Swati-photoframe

To find out more about Swati’s eclectic collection or purchase/commission one of a kind gifts (including artwork on fabrics and bags and canvas), please contact her at swatirastogi6@gmail.com or on 1-617 955 9431

Written by Redpatang

February 7, 2013 at 11:57 am

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